Archive for banking


I’m still working out the ins and out of the banking bit. Bank of America has been the most recommended bank, but they require direct deposit on their free account or there’s a $5.95 monthly charge. Currently my paycheck goes straight into my ING Direct account which earns 4.35% as opposed to 0% with Bank of America. They do have a $50 signing bonus though which would make up for quite a bit of lost interest.

I suppose I am going to have to be moving money once a month in any case. Either into checking to pay my bills or out to a higher interest savings account. ING has an automatic deduction, so I could just set that up. Honestly, with a third of my paycheck going into my IRA, joining a gym, moving to a new house and starting to take the metro to work; my savings capacity is severely diminished. I probably ought to just switch and go with Bank of America.

BB&T is still in slight consideration since they have a free checking account with no strings. Also, while I was poking around today, I found their check card has a deal with Visa Extras. Once I’ve signed up, for every dollar I spend, I earn points. I was perusing the catalog and, had I signed up initially, I could be well on my way to a $100 Lobster Gram gift certificate. Alas.

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So, I dislike my bank. When I got to the States, I needed to move fast to start my new job, so I went with BB&T because my parents used them and they had branches in Tennessee and D.C. So far though, I’d estimate I’ve paid them at least $100 in fees, and I’m tired of them.

When I opened my account with them, I decided to put $5000 in one of their CDs. I knew that I was going to be moving and that my finances were uncertain. When I explained this to the guy opening the account and asked about transferring money in and out of the CD, he told me I could to so once a month without penalty. Once I got to D.C. I had to take some of it out to cover my security deposit and was promptly penalized.

About a month later I deposited my paycheck in an ATM. It turns out that the checks weren’t signed. So, the bank removed that amount from my account. They didn’t however remove the hold that had been placed on that amount, so effectively withdrew those checks twice, overdrawing my account. After going to the bank twice and getting the amount straightened out, I asked them to remove the $100+ in overdraft fees since they had overdrawn my account, not me. I called them twice and they kept saying they were doing it and finally they removed about $50 of them. I just didn’t have the energy to keep calling them.

I’ve never been in there and it taken less that fifteen minutes to do anything. I went it to close my CD yesterday and after almost 45 minutes and a lengthy phone conversation, one of the managers managed to get it closed.

I’m just tired of it and want a new bank. My money is currently broken down into four main categories:

  • Checking: Money for monthly expenses. All I need here is a check card of some sort and online bill payment. I didn’t ever get a checkbook for my account because my address keeps changing and the only check I have to write is for rent. The one thing BB&T has done right is making it easy to get a check sent to him.
  • Emergency Funds: This is a chunk of change for dealing with something like a car accident or chipped tooth or whatever. It needs to be accessible within three or four days. For this I’ve got a savings account at ING Direct named “BB&T Sucks” that’s earning 4.35%.
  • Retirement: MPP does a SIMPLE IRA through American Funds. I’m withholding almost 20% at this point. I’m trying to push my income as close to the $30,000 jump from 15% to 25% as possible.
  • Investing: This is still theoretical because I’ve been upping my IRA withholding to compensate for extra money I have. (I’m actually withholding 30% currently, but that will average out to 20% by the end of the year.) In a month or two though, I’d like to put a couple thousand dollars in something, probably an index fund.

So, does anyone have a bank they’ve been really happy with? Branches in Tennessee and D.C. would be nice. Not sucking would be awesome.

(If anyone ever decides to open an ING account, let me know. For a referral, I get $10 and you get $25.)

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Irish Retirement Account

We had a meeting today about the company sponsored IRA. I was excited because, as a one-time owner of The Anarchist Cookbook and a fellow lucky to still have all his fingers, I felt I might have something valuable to bring to the table. I practiced my accent to myself and made a sign that said “reef, th’ limey bastards.”

Honestly I was disappointed. Apparently, our branch is mostly concerned with the financing of operations. I suppose that makes sense given that we’re on the wrong side of the pond. The whole meeting though was about investing and other such boring things. The guy they sent over didn’t even have an accent. I’m pretty sure he was as American as I was. Maybe you have to start off at the bottom and after you prove yourself a bit you get to move into the real action.

Anyhow, he said that there were three things we should take from the meeting. I don’t really what they’ve got with liberating our people, but maybe one of y’all can help me out:

  • Plan your retirement like you’re going to be taking a twenty year vacation. You don’t want to have to stop and find more money in the middle.
  • “Just Do It.” © In thirty years a lot of the choices you make are not going to make a lot of a difference. The most important thing is to start doing something.
  • When you get ready to retire, make sure that you’ve got at least enough money for three years in cash or government bonds. Three to five years is how long it takes for a bad market to begin to rebound. Apparently most funds went down an average of 50% between 2000 and 2002. People who had to withdraw during that period were simply sol.

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PayPal really does suck. When I got ready to head to Africa, I closed my bank account. While I was there PayPal implemented an extra security measure to where I had to enter the whole number of my bank account in order to access my account. Not having brought any documentation from my now closed account to Africa with me, I was shit out of luck. I sent them some emails asking what could be done to resolve the problem, but they always asked me to call them despite my explanation that it would cost me a weeks salary to do so.

So, I left it. Yesterday I called them and explained the situation. Their response? “Oh, that is unfortunate; sorry.” There is nothing they will do. I asked them if they could just delete that bank account from my account so that if I was a criminal that I couldn’t steal anything and they refused. They said that if I can’t find a copy of that number somewhere I’m just locked out.

It is a pain not only because I would like to use PayPal, but also because I think I had some money in the account. Money which I guess belongs to PayPal now since I can’t get to it.

I was bitching to Brett about it and he said that Jen was having different issues. She opened an account with her school email address and school phone number and now doesn’t have access to either. When she wanted to just open a new account, she can’t because a bank account can only be used with one system and hers is locked into the account she can’t access.


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